Sunday, July 05, 2009

Richie McCaw confident of new All Blacks Tri Nations squad

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In the forwards, skipper Richie McCaw, Rodney So'oialo and Andrew Hore provide some much needed experience, while lock Jason Eaton is also back in black.

In the backs wing Sitiveni Sivivatu returns after missing the June tests with a dislocated shoulder, and he's joined by Hosea Gear who replaces Lelia Masaga.

But despite going into the Tri Nations as underdogs, McCaw is confident he can cope with the rigours of test rugby despite having been out injured for almost two months.

"I've had a good couple of weeks of actual fitness stuff through the experiences I've had," he says. "As long as you know exactly what you have to do out on the field, after a couple of games you come right."

Sivivatu was one of 12 All Blacks who played for their clubs today. There's also a two day camp in Wellington next week.

And while the lack of match fitness is a problem, the flipside is that McCaw and So'oialo have had a break and have never looked better.

However injuries are still continuing to plague the team. Isaia Toeava will miss the first three tests with a broken bone in his foot, and Stephen Donald's hamstring will keep him out of the Wallaby test in a fortnight, leaving Luke McAlister as the preferred first five.

And with two tests to play in South Africa, the All Blacks will need to be on target against the Wallabies in a fortnight.

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